Sonography is a relatively new field in the medical world. Although sonograph equipment has long been used to monitor pregnancies, the ultrasound process has now evolved to be a diagnostic tool in many different areas of medicine. Because this area of diagnostic medicine is growing rapidly, the job demand in this area is growing as well. Now is a great time to head back to school to become a diagnostic medical sonographer.
Although there are no official licensing or education requirements for diagnostic medical sonographers, most hospitals and other employers won’t consider candidates who don’t have at least a two-year degree from an accredited program. There are also four-year bachelor’s degrees available for those interested in a sonography career. According to the United States Department of Labor, the median annual salary for diagnostic medical sonographers was $64,380 as of 2010. Compared to the amount of education you need for this job, that’s an excellent income! Also remember that the more education and experience you have, the higher salary you can expect to earn.
The amount of money you make after you graduate, however, is probably not a consolation as you stare at huge tuition bills and other costs as you start college. Whether you choose a two-year or four-year degree program, college can be expensive, and few people have the means to pay for it out-of-pocket. If you are looking into financial aid to help you pay for school, scholarships are one of the best ways to make a sonography education possible and more affordable.
Unlike loans, scholarships never need to be repaid. They’re based on merit, such as your academic achievements or special skills you possess, as opposed to grants, which are given out based on financial need. There are tons of diagnostic medical sonography scholarships available for students, as well as general scholarships available regardless of your course of study. Start by looking to your college or specific program for scholarship options, but remember that many are given out by private organizations as well. A good place to start is with the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonography Foundation, a non-profit charity that supports sonographers and their patients. This includes a grant and scholarship program for those interested in a sonography career.
Keep in mind that most diagnostic medical sonography scholarships require that the money goes toward an accredited program. Most two-year and four-year schools with a sonography program are accredited, but there are other education options as well, including on-the-job training programs, one-year programs, and individual classes. These are great for sonographers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest in sonography technology, but most scholarships can’t be applied to these kinds of programs. When applying, make sure you’re clear on the rules about how you can use any money you’re awarded. Don’t hesitate to apply, though; with the help of scholarships, the cost of your medical training doesn’t have to be quite as daunting.
If you already have a job and don't have time for rigid class schedules, earning a degree online is the way to go. With the degree programs listed below, you can earn your health services degree in as little as one or two years. Although there aren't any specific sonography degrees online, a related health services degree is just what you need to jump start your career as an ultrasound tech.
DeVry University — The associate's degree program in health information technology from DeVry University, while not an ultrasound technologist degree program, is a related healthcare service program which prepares its students to manage electronic health information systems and work with healthcare applications. HIT professionals work with nurses, physicians, diagnostic medical sonography techs, and more in myriad health organizations.
Kaplan University — The Associate of Applied Science degree in medical assisting from Kaplan University is not a sonography program, but might make a good background for the field . It provides an entry-level education perfectly suited for those wishing to go into a career in diagnostic medical sonography. Students of this program will learn all the basic skills required of any medical assistant.
Use our degree finder, and we'll help you find a degree program suitable for sonographers.